Studies frequently point to caseload and workload as factors influencing worker turnover and retention. Child welfare workers need to be able to spend enough time with the children and families on their caseloads in order to develop an appropriate case plan and achieve positive outcomes. Ensuring a manageable caseload and workload for staff requires agencies to determine the suitable number and types of cases, assigning cases appropriately, and making adjustments as needed. On this page, find resources on the role of caseload and workload in workforce retention and child welfare outcomes, including State and local examples.
Council on Accreditation (COA)
Presents standards, including those for caseload and workload, that must be met for human services agencies to become COA accredited. Find standards by choosing “Private” or “Public” under the “Standards” menu along the top of the webpage and clicking on “View the Standards” on the right side of the page.
Effective Workload Management (PDF - 706 KB)
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2020)
Summarizes a study on workload perceptions of caseworkers and presents an analysis of caseload and workload needs and recommendations for improved workload management.
How Can Child Welfare Leaders Safely Decrease Investigation Backlogs?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Provides examples of contributing factors to case backlogs and presents strategies to approach and sustain backlog reductions. The resource includes real-life examples of how agencies across the country have successfully worked through their backlogs.
Recent Research to Build Knowledge of the Child Welfare Workforce
Quality Improvement Center for Workforce Development (2019)
Provides information about child welfare worker turnover and highlights strategies to address it.
Arizona Department of Child Safety Caseworker Caseload Standards (PDF - 1,751 KB)
Arizona Office of the Auditor General
Presents information on caseworker caseload standards in Arizona. This report reviews strategies used to manage caseloads and workloads and describes the State’s plan to use a workload-based approach.
Caseload Standards for Child Protective Services (PDF - 436 KB)
Wisconsin County Human Service Association (2018)
Recommends caseload standards for Wisconsin’s child protective services workers. The report also includes information about the background and purpose for creating a workload study to inform the standards as well as recommendations.
Child Welfare Workload Model: Report to the Legislature (PDF - 1,434 KB)
Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (2019)
Summarizes trends in workload for caseworkers in Washington State and explains how caseload is managed.
Generally Applicable Caseload Standards: Guidelines for Conservatorship (CVS) (PDF - 270 KB)
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2020)
Offers recommendations and guidelines to support the achievement of conservatorship caseload standards in Texas. The report highlights future planning for staffing resources, supervisor-level management of caseload assignments, assigning cases, addressing caseload size issues, and more.
South Carolina Department of Social Services Plan for Attainment of Child Welfare Caseload Limits (PDF - 662 KB)
South Carolina Department of Social Services (2019)
Outlines an implementation plan for South Carolina that addresses workload limits for child welfare caseworkers in order to achieve a stable, sufficient, and high-quality frontline workforce.